Special Topics: Women's Studies
Professor Soyoung Park
Dorothy Allison's novel, Trash, is a powerful novel that tells the tale of one woman's struggles in combating against death- rather, the desire for escape through death. The main character is one of several children from a poor, rural family, and the sheer number of children create a sense of detachment and remove her own self-worth. "The mystery is how many no one remembers" (Allison, 10). As an adult, she reflects back on her life with a hardened, brash, almost crude view. In the chapter titled Mama, she recalls the fondness and love she has felt for her mother; how she saw her as a rock- an imperfect, cracked rock. She realizes and accepts at one point that her mother has faults just as she does, and she is proud that her mother is reflected in her. "My lovers laugh at me and say, 'Every tenth word with you is Mama. Mama said. Mama used to say. My mama didn't raise no fool.'/ I widen my mouth around my drawl and show my mama's lost teeth in my smile" (Allison, 45).
These first few chapters have a compelling, gritting, painful sort of beauty that draws the reader in. There is a realness that the main character, in her turmoil, tries to achieve.